BY Kristin Wald | Friday, Oct 31, 2014 8:00am
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via Ryan Hughes and Makezine.com
Carving a pumpkin and hanging up a skeleton is plenty of decoration for many area families, but there are several houses that go above and beyond using their own creativity and hard work. In Clifton, the yearly display of horror at Dr. Gangi’s home office is back in all its glory, and various homes along Grove Street, Bellevue Avenue, and Orange Road are glowing with creative and spooky decorations.
For a slightly-scary, but mostly fun and family friendly trick or treat, locals should take a look at the fantastical gathering of pumpkin scarecrows, lorded over by a Pumpkin King. Ryan Hughes, a Glen Ridge dad and lover of all things Halloween, created this display after his wife nixed the more gory display he used to set up. The last few years have been about tweaking the pumpkin horde display with lights, sounds, and new looks for the Funkin faces. This year, the older of the Hughes children even created his own pumpkin, and he proudly poses with it for visitors.
This year, Hughes said the biggest new thing is customized lights he created himself. Each pumpkin has its own Arduino controlled LED circuit board which synches the lights and color sequences to music. How did he learn how to do all this? Hughes explains, “I took an “Arduino” class about two years ago at the Adult School of Montclair to get started and joined up with HacknCraftNJ which has been a great resource.” The lights, which dance inside the pumpkin heads to the Halloween music, help make the atmosphere fun and spooky and complete.
Visitors have been enjoying the display since early October, and Hughes expects to keep it up for a week or so after Halloween. Stop by on October 31st for Trick or Treating and to experience the extra treat of a fog machine and lots of company!
Visit the Pumpkin King and his minions for Halloween at 68 Benson Street in Glen Ridge. Want a taste of what you’ll see? Check out the video here. Leave your favorite Halloween haunts in comments.
Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 9:53am
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The School Action Team for Partnerships (SATP) at Northeast Elementary School launched its Book of the Month program on October 7.
The SATP co-chaired by parent volunteers, Itewari Bryan and Jessie Cruz-Troy, scheduled a tree planting and naming ceremony to mark the occasion. In accordance with October’s “Book of the Month”, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, the tree has been named “The Giving Tree”. Continue Reading
BY Randi Mazzella | Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 9:30am
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More than 30 years ago, Lillian Hoban wrote the classic children’s book, Will I Have a Friend? The book tells the story of five-year old Jim who is off to kindergarten and worried about whether he will have any friends. Walking to school with his dad on the first day, Jim expresses his concerns to his father who tries to reassure him but Jim is still not convinced. It turns out that making new friends is a little challenging as Jim faces typical social ups and downs. But by the end of the story, Jim has made a friend and is thrilled to tell his dad all about him.
Three decades later, Jim’s kindergarten experience is still relevant. Children still worry about making friends and fitting in. Parents may worry about this too and not be quite sure how they can help their child navigate friendships and social situation. Continue Reading
Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 4:16pm
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This Friday, October 31st, head over to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo for a “Safe Howl-O-Ween.” Trick or treat at the zoo with 25 candy stations throughout the grounds (Bring your own bags for candy). The Zoo will be closed from 2:30-4 p.m. to prepare for this event. For information, call 973-731-5800 or visit www.turtlebackzoo.com. Continue Reading
Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 9:55am
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Montclair’s Charles H. Bullock community enjoyed a wholesome day of gardening and juicing on Friday, October 24 to celebrate National Food Day, a movement to promote healthy, affordable and sustainable food and to inspire Americans to adopt a more nutritious diet.
The morning began with a group of CHB students and teachers walking two blocks from school to the Miller Street Community Garden where they were given a grand tour by a master gardener. They learned how this three year old garden is run mainly by donations and volunteers in order to help make fresh produce available to the community at an affordable price. The tour ended with the students donning their gardening gloves and being invited to pick all the remaining vegetables before the garden is closed down for the winter.
Back on the CHB school playground several members of the PTA were busy cutting, slicing and blending fresh produce as each of the six grades was treated to a fresh juicing demonstration during their recess periods. Apples and cider, kale, spinach, celery, ginger, lemon along with an entire bin full of freshly-picked carrots and beets from the school’s own vegetable garden were used to serve up 450+ green and pink smoothies to each and every student (and many teachers too).
Despite the questionable color of the juice, most were willing to give it a taste with the overall reaction being a positive one and quite a few customers returning for seconds (and thirds). A vegetable serving in a cup to every CHB student – we’ll call the day a success!
– Contributed by Kristin Maurice
BY Announcement | Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014 1:54pm
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Montclair Public Schools District announced today that funding received through a grant from the state of New Jersey will be applied to ongoing security upgrades of each of its 11 schools. Secured through the joint efforts of Superintendent Penny MacCormack, Chief Operating Officer Brian Fleischer and support by the Board of Education, funds will now provide each school with state-of-the-art video technology, card control door access and the installation of modern duress devices to better communicate potential safety and medical situations.
Today’s announcement demonstrates the District’s ongoing commitment to modernize safety equipment and fully train all personnel to ensure students are safe. In December 2012, shortly after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, a full review of all school safety procedures, security resources and district wide emergency protocols was conducted under the leadership of the Superintendent involving school principals and the district security consultant. Since the review, security upgrades have been ongoing and unified security processes established throughout the district. As outlined in the climate survey, released by the district last month, the new systems now in place have yielded significant results, with 95% of elementary students and 91% of middle school students stating that they know what to do in the event of a school emergency.
“The protocols and systems the District had in place needed to be modernized,” stated Superintendent Penny MacCormack. “Our world is changing every day and we must make sure the environment and climate of our schools and classrooms are safe. When we realized the work that needed to be done to make this a reality, the district office, our principals and staff rolled up their sleeves and got to work. These are budget-tight times, so we looked at the issue creatively and fought hard to bring Trenton dollars back to the district.” Continue Reading
Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014 10:34am
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Montclair Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), a volunteer group of parents and guardians that provides input to the district as well as support and information to parents and caregivers of children with special needs, holds monthly meetings to connect with parents and guardians who have common concerns and experiences. The next SEPAC meeting is Tuesday, November 4th from 7 pm until 9pm, at Watchung Elementary School. The speaker will be Dr. Alexa Kemeny and the topic is “Your pediatrician is on your child’s team – we are not just for colds.”
Dr. Kemeny is a pediatrician with a practice in Berkley Heights. She has two children that attend Montclair schools and is a graduate of Montclair High School, Harvard University, and Harvard Medical School. Continue Reading
BY Announcement | Tuesday, Oct 28, 2014 7:00am
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Congratulations to Montclair’s Bulldog Junior Pee Wee (ages 8-11) and Midget (ages 12-14) cheerleading teams for placing second in the North Jersey Pop Warner Cheerleading competition on Sunday, October 26. Each cheer team performed a 2 1/2 -minute routine in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 1,500 at Elizabeth High School. Continue Reading
BY Announcement | Monday, Oct 27, 2014 3:06pm
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Local families helped to raise the J Connection Montclair sukkah, which was provided by The Partnership for Jewish Learning and Life, on Sunday, October 6, at the Bloomfield home of J Connection parent, Beth Mersten Cruz. Children also made decorations to hang in it.
On Tuesday, October 14th, a J Connection Montclair Sukkot celebration was held in the sukkah. It was a beautiful afternoon, and seven families gathered to celebrate the holiday with songs, stories and snacks. Musician and Tot Shabbat leader Ira Levin sang Sukkot songs with the children and read PJ Library sukkot stories, and the new Chabad of Montclair Rabbi Yaacov Leaf showed everyone how to shake the lulav. Afterwards everyone was invited to stay and play at the Mersten-Cruz home and continued to enjoy the beautiful weather together. Continue Reading
BY Emily Klein | Monday, Oct 27, 2014 9:30am
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With the barrage of news reports, school notices and doom-and-gloom conversations about Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), it’s hard not to feel anxious when your child goes off to school or visits the playground.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 941 people from 46 states and the District of Columbia have been confirmed with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 between mid-August and October 22 of this year. Seven people have died from the virus (investigations are still under way), including a four-year-old boy from Mercer County. Almost all of the confirmed cases have been children and many of them have a history of respiratory issues like asthma or wheezing. Continue Reading